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February 23rd, 2016

Ulster Juvenile Championships. The Ulster Juvenile Championships were held in 4 venues throughout Belfast Sunday past the 21stin the girls Emma Keenan played Ava Mc Caul from Cavan, the first game was over before Emma came to grips with the game as yet again the serve proved vital in the juvenile game, Ava was servingbrilliantly into the left corner, in the 2nd game Emma served and she then showed what she could do and also served up some great 3 wall serves, running into 9-0 lead the Cavan girl got back in to make it 4-9, Emma returned and went 4-11 up, Ava got back in and closed the game and match 15-11, but Emma played great taking some great balls from the back wall with both hands, in the U13 doubles Mia O Reilly teamed up with Eythna Boyle as Clodagh had withdrawn, the girls took the game and progressed to the final with some ease as they defeated Aoife Mc Cusker & Orlaith Mc Cusker from Down 15-0, 15-1, well done girls, Tara Mc Meel had withdrawn from the U14 singles, Maebh Mc Cluskey didn’t play here U15 singles due to a knee injury but we hope she is fit to play it during the week where she would be facing Rachel Mc Keown from Downin the U17 Singles Niamh fullen  was due to play Nicole Keenan also from Down but Nicole has pulled out so Niamh is straight into the final, in the boys section Padraig Treanor teamed up with Ben M Geough from Bawn and they played Fergal Mc Manus & Tom Mc Neil from Down, the boys lost both games 15-2 and 15-10, not having played together proved to be a major factor in the game as both boys played no where near their potentional but still put on a brave display despite this, the 2015 U13 defending champions Ryan Harnet & Deivdas Kaklauskas won their 2 games to progress to the U14 Ulster final, on Friday evening they dispatched of a Down pairing 15-2, 15-4, in the semi on Sunday they were in a bit of a dog fight against Cavan men Daryl Mc Gurren & Sean Mc Evoy, winning the first 15-10 they found themselves 9-13 down in the 2nd and staring a tie-breaker but some clever coaching from JK from the side lines they took a time-out steadied the ship and then went on to win the game 15-13, well done boys & coach, in the U15 singles Ryan Boyle had withdrawn, the final game was in the U17 where Aaron Mohan played Lyndon Brown from Down, this was cruise control for Aaron as he won 21-2, 21-2, well done Aaron, also on Sunday Shane Mc Kenna is partnering Cillian Sherry from Tydavnet in the U17 doubles final, good luck to all boys & girls from throughout the county in the finals in Kingscourt on Sunday coming the 28th, play begins @10am, would all our club members that are taking part check the fixtures list on the notice board at the block alley, also all pleasekit out in Monaghan gear again, “Come on Monaghan”.

Ulster Adult Championships. Hard luck to John Treanor(T) as he lost the “Golden Masters “B” Singles” Ulster final last Saturday in Coláiste Féirste to Sean Mc Nally from Down, this was a monster of a game that lasted 2 hours and as John said it was his undoing, John won the first 21-19 and it took John 5 chances to claim “game Ball”, the 2nd went to Sean 21-13 and the 3rd was just physically a bridge too far for John as he went down 21-6, hard luck John but there is always next year.

Table Quiz. We will be holding our annual table quiz on Friday night March the 4th in St.Mellans @ 9pm with all proceeds being donated to Gaeil Triucha for the further refurbishing of the viewing area at the glass alley, all support will be very much appreciated.

Mono League. The Mono League is still on going, we will have both courts running hopefully from here forward, the seating may not be finished but it should be safe enough for the players, some players are “not”fulfilling their fixtures but a bigger issue is that their opponents are not been contacted, this can not be tolerated, can captains please put pressure on all players to please fulfill fixtures on the night, and if not before the next game.


We brought 12 boys and girls to the Ulster Juvenile Semifinals in Belfast on Sunday last and achieved a remarkable success with 10 out of the 12 making it through to the Ulster finals this weekend in Kingscourt. It was a logistical nightmare organizing transport to the venues of St. Paul’s, Rossa and Coláiste Féirste and this was achieved thanks to the help of the following: John Kelly, Martin Mc Entee, Karin Callan, Delma O’Rourke, Tracey Bradley, Robert Szkup and Eugene and Suzanne Mc Ginnity. Our strategy of entering some of our stronger players in doubles rather than singles worked very well with one notable exception.

First into the court was our ever-smiling pairing of Evan Bradley and Nedas Guoga against a very capable Cavan duo of Matthew Smith and Oliver Mc Crystal in U12 Doubles. This match easily falls into the category of “Comeback of the Championship” as Cavan easily won the first game 15-9 and were leading 13-4 in the second requiring just 2 points for victory.  It was nail-biting stuff as Nedas found his kill shots and young Evan surprised many with his excellent serves to bring the match to a tiebreak.  Again it was close all the way with Cavan always in the lead only for the Harps lads to claw back in the final moments and win 15-13.
One of the best clinical performances of the day was that of 10 year old Seán Callan who had a very tough opponent in Cavan’s Oisín Byrne in U12 Singles.  What followed was a very measured display of all that is good in handball with Seán in control for much of the match with great serves down the right and the correct execution of back-wall killshots and passes. The first game was very close 15-11 but Seán kept his composure in the second and increased his dominance to win 15-5.  What a weekend for the Harps player who just lost out by 1 point against Cork the previous day at the National Cumann na mBunscol finals. Seán will need to reproduce this excellent form in the final against Tyrone’s in-form Eoin Mc Elholm.
The title “Quickest Victory” goes to our U12 girls Karolinja Kaklauskaite and Juste Audiejaityte who took just minutes to overcome Cavan’s Aisling Doherty and Suin Smith 15-0, 15-3.  Juste’s serve did all the damage in this one.  They face formidable opposition from Tyrone in the final.
Our next victory came in the U13 singles in Tiarnán O’Rourke’s match with a good Down player Patrick Cowan.  Tiarnán’s ability to keep the ball in play is an asset with his overall fitness also a factor. He won both games and faces a tough Tyrone opponent Jonathan Owens – a repeat of last year’s U12 final.
Playing the best handball seen in Monaghan at present is Eoghan Mc Ginnity and he duly won the U14 singles in front of a huge crowd in Belfast.  There was a brave display from his Cavan opponent but from the outset the result was never in doubt.  In particular Eoghan’s serve down the right was virtually unstoppable.  He will play Armagh’s Oisín Terris in the final.  Could he go all the way this year and take the All-Ireland? A tough ask given the standard of handball nationally.
Louise Mc Ginnity had a 2-game win over Down’s Ella Mc Cumiskey in the U13 singles.  The scores were 15-1, 15-6.  She now meets top Tyrone player Clodagh Monroe.
Deivydas Kaklauskas joined his sister Karolinja in the Ulster final by virtue of a really close 15-13, 15-13 victory in the U14 doubles along with his St. Mellans partner Ryan Harnett. Watch out boys in the final! Your Tyrone opponents Cahir Monroe and Brian Mc Aleer need no introduction.
Justas Dambinskas has given great service to Harps handball over the years and it was great to see him reach the U16 doubles final despite having to use a last-minute replacement for his regular partner. This match was decided over 3 games.  They will meet All-Ireland favourites Cormac Monroe and Lorcan Mc Bride in the final.
Sadly our strategy did not work in the U15 doubles when Jakub Szkup and Konrad Kowal lost to Cavan’s Diego Di Falco and Emmett Boylan.  Cavan fully deserved this victory. Unfortunately Jakub’s lack of competitive games in the county championships had a major bearing on a poor performance.
Kingscourt is the venue next Sunday for all the Ulster finals which begin at 10amfor the U12 boys and girls.
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